Kids N' Pets Part 2 (Photos)

Dog Mourns at Casket of Fallen Navy SEAL

Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson lay in a coffin, draped in an American flag, in front of a tearful audience mourning his death in Afghanistan. Soon an old friend appeared, and like a fellow soldier on a battlefield, his loyal dog refused to leave him behind.

Tumilson's Labrador retriever, Hawkeye, was photographed lying by Tumilson's casket in a heart-wrenching image taken at the funeral service in Tumilson's hometown of Rockford, Iowa, earlier this week. Hawkeye walked up to the casket at the beginning of the service and then dropped down with a heaving sigh as about 1,500 mourners witnessed a dog accompanying his master until the end.

The photo was snapped by Tumilson's cousin, Lisa Pembleton, and posted on her Facebook page in memory of the San Diego resident. Tumilson, 35, was one of 30 American troops, including 22 Navy Seals, who was killed when a Taliban insurgent shot down a Chinook helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade on Aug. 6.

"I felt compelled to take one photo to share with family members that couldn't make it or couldn't see what I could from the aisle," Pembleton wrote on her Facebook page. "To say that he was an amazing man doesn't do him justice. The loss of Jon to his family, military family and friends is immeasurable.''

Hawkeye was such a huge part of Tumilson's life that Tumilson's family followed the dog down the aisle as they entered the service in front of a capacity crowd in the gymnasium at the Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock Community School. Hawkeye then followed Tumilson's good friend, Scott Nichols, as Nichols approached the stage to give a speech. As Nichols prepared to memorialize his friend, Hawkeye dutifully laid down near the casket.

The youngest of three children, Tumilson had wanted to be a Navy SEAL since he was a teenager. Friends and his two older sisters remembered a fearless soldier, and a Power Point presentation was shown that illustrated Tumilson's active life outside of the military, which included scuba diving, martial arts, and triathlons.

"If J.T. had known he was going to be shot down when going to the aid of others, he would have went anyway," friend Boe Nankivel said at the service.

"Your dreams were big and seemed impossible to nearly everyone on the outside," his sister, Kristie Pohlman, said at the service. "I always knew you'd somehow do what you wanted."

As for Hawkeye, the loyal Labrador will now be owned by Nichols, Tumilson's friend.

Dog Devours $10,000 Worth Of Diamonds

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Worker theft is a big deal, especially in the jewelry business. So when $10,000 worth of diamonds went missing from a Georgia jewelry store, it caused a real stink.

Owners at John Ross Jewelers said a pack of loose diamonds went missing about two weeks ago, reported WALB-TV. They said they searched high and low, but eventually found the culprit in their midst.

It turned out Honey Bun, the store's pint-sized puppy greeter, gulped down the pricey treats. One of the store's co-owners, Chuck Roberts, said he took the pooch across the street for an X-ray and spotted the diamonds.

He said that when he went to meet a customer, he left a chair near his desk, allowing Honey Bun to hop up and chow down.

Roberts said he never scolded Honey Bun, since she was just doing what dogs do.

"It was my fault, leaving the chair there," said Roberts.

All of the diamonds were recovered from the lawn a day later.

Arizona Man Stuffs Snakes in His Pants,
Flees Store
By Alex Ferri, The Arizona Republic/

MESA, Ariz. – A man was arrested on theft charges after police said he was caught on video trying to steal an albino boa constrictor and other exotic reptiles by stuffing them down his pants.

Eric Fiegel, 22, was arrested at 3:40 p.m. Tuesday after police reviewed surveillance footage from a pet shop that shows a man stealing baby albino boa constrictors July 30 from Predator's Reptile Center in Mesa by placing them in his pants and exiting the store, according to police.

Police said he reportedly entered the store, removed several baby snakes from their cage, and exited without paying. He allegedly returned later in the evening and left with several more snakes hidden in his pants, police reported.

According to police, Fiegel then traveled to another pet store and traded several of the snakes for $175 and a large reptile tank valued at $175.

A witness obtained a license plate number which police used to locate Fiegel.

Fiegel was later positively identified from a police lineup by two witnesses and also from the surveillance footage that showed him placing the snakes in his pants, according to a police report.

A Tradition Ends as Bars Shut Their Doors to Dogs

Christian Hansen for The New York Times / Miles, a 9-year-old boxer-pug mix, looks into Ace Bar in the East Village. Miles is very popular at Ace Bar and has been a regular there for many years. Mike Israely, Miles’s owner, said every time he walks Miles past the bar he goes up to the door, hoping to be let in.

His face has grayed there. Friends have come and gone. He never paid for a drink, but rarely walked out of the East Village bar with an empty stomach. He may have purged his dinner on the floor a time or two, his fellow bar patrons said, but who among them hadn’t done the same?

Over the past year, though, Miles has become the latest subject of what may be the city’s least funny running joke: A dog walks into a bar — and the health department threatens to issue a violation for allowing live animals in a food establishment.

“He’s a dog, but I swear he looks sad,” Mike Israely, 33, said of Miles, his 9-year-old boxer-pug mix, as the dog peered through Ace Bar’s glass doors Thursday night. “Coming here was part of our evening walk.”

Of course, it has always been a violation of the city’s health code to allow a dog anywhere near a beer tap. But for years, this has been one of the most widely — and gleefully — violated rules in the city.

Not any more.

Since the health department adopted a letter grade system for bars and restaurants last year, bar owners say, health inspectors are allowing no wiggle room for four-legged patrons.

The stricter enforcement is apparently bringing to an end a rich tradition of dog-friendly bars in New York.

“Bars are built around characters,” said Andrew Templar, an owner of Floyd NY in Brooklyn Heights, which received a violation notice after health inspectors twice observed dogs on the premises this summer. “Now it’s just people and their people problems.”

The health department issued 469 violations for live animals in food-service sites from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, though the agency did not provide a breakdown of the different kinds of offending animals.

During inspections, many owners said they were surprised to learn that dogs were not allowed even in outdoor seating areas. Neither does a bar’s dearth of actual food products provide any cover. “Beer, wine and spirits have always been classified as food,” a department spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail. Only service dogs are permitted in spaces that serve food or drink of any kind.

Some bars evaded formal reprimand from the city with the help of fellow pubs. In the East Village, where many watering holes are known to be dog-friendly, word spread quickly when inspectors began to crack down.

“Everybody keeps asking when we can have dogs again,” said Justin Saunders, manager of Ace Bar on Fifth Street, which displays no fewer than six Snoopy-themed lunch boxes in its front room. “And every time Miles walks by, he tries to come in.”

The city’s history of dog-friendly establishments predates most of its bars. In the 19th century, saloons often housed dogs as security. Occasionally, the animals attracted crowds of gamblers, who wagered on how many penned rats a dog could kill in five minutes. (The record was 60, which New York’s champion terrier failed to break when he was dispatched to New Orleans in 1879 as the headliner of an event at Bison Williams’s Buffalo Bill House, said Christine Sismondo, the author of “America Walks Into a Bar.”)

Since Prohibition, some of the city’s oldest institutions have counted animals among their regulars. Dogs became signposts for “a proper neighborhood bar,” Ms. Sismondo said. “It proves you’re not one of those corporate B.Y.O.F. bars: bring your own friends.”

Chumley’s, which was once a speakeasy at 86 Bedford Street, retained its “old beer and wet dog” scent, Ms. Sismondo recalled, until a structural collapse forced its closing in 2007. Workers at McSorley’s Old Ale House said the storied bar rarely hosted dogs, but did keep a cat on the grounds from when it opened about 150 years ago until earlier this month, when the health department informed staff that Minie, a fixture for the last two years, would have to go.

And at P.J. Clarke’s in Midtown, a collie named Skippy, with an auburn coat and blackened tail, has held court for nearly a half-century. After the dog’s death in 1963, bar-goers pitched in to have him stuffed. Today, he sits, hind legs tucked in, eyes pulled wide, atop a ledge above the entrance to the handicapped bathroom. He shares the post with metal busts memorializing police officers and firefighters killed on 9/11, beside a placard that reads, “P.J. Clarke’s Remembers.”

A few bars continue to allow dogs, albeit discreetly. Nick Simons, 39, and his black Labrador, Biff, walked past bouncers without incident at an East Village bar last week.

At Fulton Grand in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, many workers bring their animals, said Luke McDermott, co-owner of the bar. Patrons said they welcomed the guests, save for one hound with a howling habit.

“It’s the equivalent of a crying baby,” said Melissa Le, 36, from Prospect Heights. “The owner should know when a dog is fitting in with the environment.”

Workers at Urge Lounge, on First Street and Second Avenue, take care to ensure that new dogs are assimilated on arrival.

“We never turn any dogs away,” said Frankie Delessio, 30, a bartender. “Humans, yes.”

He pulled out his iPhone, with which he shot a video recently: a Jack Russell terrier, paws on the bar counter, head bobbing to the music, with a vodka tonic in a glass in front of him.

“It’s O.K.; he’s 3,” Mr. Delessio said. “That’s 21 in dog years.”

Whoopi Goldberg Adopts Kitten
Thrown from Car in N.Y.C.
By Amy Jamieson -

Whoopi Goldberg and Vinny/Lou Rocco / Getty

A resilient kitten who survived being thrown from a moving car on New York City's Verrazano Bridge in July has found a permanent home with Whoopi Goldberg.

The View cohost announced on her Facebook page Monday that she adopted the Russian blue cat named Verrazano, whose survival story tugged at heartstrings when he visited the talk show in July.

"For all of you who remember me on The View meeting Verrazano," she wrote, "I adopted him and I was finally able to take him home."

When the kitten was just 5 weeks old, an unidentified person tossed the cat from the window of a moving car on the bridge. Luckily, animal control officer Brendon Ocasio saw it happen and rescued the cat from the busy roadway.

Now nicknamed Vinny, the feline is settling well into his new digs but has one more challenge to overcome: Goldberg's other cat, Oliver.

"Oliver's not too happy but, Vinny is having the time of his life," she said. "I think he'll get Oliver to come around sooner than later."

7 Secrets Of A Happy Cat
by Michelle Mawson -

Solitary or inquisitive, whatever your cats purrsonality, he has needs that must be met to be a truly happy cat.

Litter box: A clean litter box equals a happy cat. Twice a day scooping is ideal. A cat's sense of smell is infinitely more sensitive than a human’s is. A large, roomy litter box placed in a quiet area will allow even the most reluctant cats a place to do their business.

Scratching post or pad: Keep your cat’s claws happy with a few scratching post or pads located strategically around your home. Rub with catnip and place in front of furniture your cat likes to scratch. Most cats like to exercise their claws after eating or napping.

Declawing: A happy cat has claws. Claws are necessary for protection, balance, and to stretch the muscles in a cats legs, shoulders, back and paws. Declawing can cause back pain due to the altered conformation of the cat's feet and the way it strikes the ground at an unnatural angle. The claw is not like a human fingernail; it is part of the last bone (distal phalanx) in a cat's toe.

Mental stimulation: Cats often sleep up to 20 hours a day, and when they're awake, they have excess energy to burn. Toys help by providing an item to stalk or pounce on. A window is an excellent place to watch birds and dream.

Flea control: Cats cannot tell you if they have a health problem, but their behavior can. If your cat is scratching incessantly, you most likely have a flea problem in your home. A flea control product can stop a flea infiltration before it even starts. Advantage and Frontline are two excellent products that control fleas with a monthly application.

Food: By choosing a well-balanced brand of cat food and following the manufacturer's instructions on portion size, you can keep your cat at a healthy weight. An occasional treat is OK and definitely appreciated by your kitty. A healthy weight will help your cat to avoid medical problems.

Love and attention: The most important of all, your cat craves this the most. Cats don't experience human emotion but can show their "cat" love to you in a variety of ways. Head butting, also called bunting, is a cats way of saying, "Pet me." By petting your cat frequently each day, you can make him or her very happy and also detect physical changes. For shy cats, gentle handing goes a long way toward building a loving bond.

Picture Perfect Pet: Willie
By Joe Noga,


Owner: The Garvey family

Breed: Cavachon

Dines on: Blue Buffalo dog food

Favorite treat: “Pupperoni and anything someone else is eating.”

Best trick: “Baby monkey — he puts his front legs on your arm and looks under it, giving the appearance of a baby monkey hanging from a limb.”

Favorite activities: “Overzealous greeting of family, going for walks and looking out the window.”

What would you change about your pet: “Nothing, we think he is perfect.”

Kids N' Pets Part 2
Thanks to Bob in BHC, AZ

Give me a sense of humor, Lord,
Give me the grace to see a joke,
To get some humor out of life,

and pass it on to other folks.

The Best Way for Your Dog to be Social ~ Dogbook
by Lori Thomas -

With almost one million monthly users to date, Dogbook has become one of the most popular ways for dogs and their owners to interact with other dog owners and their furry friends. The application, available through Facebook, is sort of like a virtual dog park, without the barking and necessary clean up! Dogbook allows you to create a profile for your dog, tag your dog in photos, find dogs in your area, ask questions about dog ownership, and so much more.

A father-son duo originally came up with the idea for Dogbook, with a purpose of having the ability to keep all of the happy memories they create in our lives in one place. Its companion application, Catbook, offers the same benefits and fun, only its an entire world of cats and cat owners! Father, Geoffrey Roche, of Toronto and son Alexandre wanted to create a place where pet owners could join a community of other people who truly love their dog or cat. “I had noticed on my son’s Facebook that friends of ours had posted pictures of a dog as if it was a person, and I thought that was kind of interesting,” said Roche.

Any Facebook user can use the Catbook and Dogbook applications to make a profile for a pet. Profiles can include a primary photo with room for additional photos, as well as including the breed, sex, age, hometown, activities and favorite treats, much like a human’s Facebook profile. Pets can ask other pets to be “friends”, with the request needing to be approved like Facebook friend requests.

Geoffrey and Alexandre never expected the applications to become so popular, but its really no surprise with the number of pet lovers in the world. To have a place to post photos of your pet where other pet lovers will appreciate them, comment on them, and show love to your pet, the applications are sure to continue growing and adding features, just like human Facebook profiles do.

Does your pet already have a profile on Dogbook or Catbook?

Hints From Heloise:
Pets Break Out of Saturday Slot
By Heloise,

Dear Readers: You have spoken! Recently, when asked about a possible update to the Heloise Saturday pet column that has been running a long time, you responded! I wanted to know if you would like to keep the column all animal- and pet-related, or a mixture of hints, with pet hints spread throughout the week. Read on for a very small sample of your feedback:

* My feelings about having the “pet day” on Saturday is -- don’t change a thing. For my wife and me, Saturday usually is a laid-back, restful day. It’s an opportunity to better appreciate our pets and other animals in our lives. -- Walter in Spearfish, S.D.

Heloise, I love your column and especially look forward to your pet column. I can’t think of anything that will make it better than it already is. Please keep it going. You do an excellent job! (Jenna, my dog, loves it, too!) -- Pam, via e-mail

* I say to keep the pet column. I get it on Saturdays in the Little Rock, Ark., paper, and I look forward to it because I am an animal lover and have three dogs and two cats. But if you do go scattering pet hints throughout your columns, fine. -- M.J. in Arkansas

* I would love to see everyday household hints in the pet column! I don’t have pets, and while I read you anyway, it would be terrific if you spread things around so we all get something we’re interested in. Thanks for asking; I never thought of writing you with my thoughts! -- Bonnie in New Hampshire

* I love pets as much as the next person, but I really don’t like an entire column devoted to pet hints. Thanks for the opportunity to speak out. -- Judy in Pennsylvania

* Spread the pet hints around -- we don’t just love our pets on Saturdays. GREAT idea! -- Betty in Benton, Ark.

Betty, I think you said it perfectly! We do love our pets all week long. So, next week you will see the new Saturday column. You’ll find your pet hints, and hints from the Heloise files, spread out through the week. However, the very popular Pet Pal (see below) will remain here, and as always the Pet of the Week photo is on my Web site at

Please know that this is your column, too. I welcome your thoughts and input. Keep sending your pet hints to share with my millions of readers who, like me, think of our animal friends as part of the family! Cabbie, our mini schnauzer, concurs and says, “Woof, woof, send in those hints to help keep us happy, safe and secure.” -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Connie in Stoutsville, Ohio, sent a picture of her cat, Princess, INSIDE her purse. Connie says Princess really “gets into” watching over it. A guard dog, yes, but a guard cat? To see Princess, go to -- Heloise

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

Will My Cat Be Territorial Around a New Cat?
By Marilyn Krieger,

Q: I have a 1- to 2-year-old indoor male cat whom we’ve had since he was a kitten, and I’d like to adopt a 2- to 3-year-old female cat. Do you think my cat will be able to adjust? My husband is afraid my cat will start spraying to be territorial I really would like to adopt a cat.

A: Some cats do very well with new cat companions — other cats enjoy being the king of their households. If your resident cat has enjoyed the company of other cats, then it will be easier to introduce him to a new, friendly cat companion. When searching for a new cat to adopt, look for one who has a history of successfully living with at least one other male cat.

Before introducing the cats to each other, bring the newcomer to your cat veterinarian for a medical evaluation. Also, make sure that both cats are spayed/neutered and current on their vaccinations.

Gradual and stress-free introductions will encourage the cats to tolerate each other and possibly become friends. It may take a few weeks or a few months to introduce cats to each other. First, give the new cat her own sanctuary room, where no other resident animals are allowed. Confining the new cat to one room will help her feel secure and encourage her to bond with you. Keeping the cats separated for about 10 days helps keep them both healthy, just in case one of the cats has an upper respiratory infection or another contagious disease.

Equip the new cat’s room with a litterbox, food, water and a comfortable place to sleep. A secure window to look out, interactive toys and a cat tree or window perch will help your new cat adjust faster to her new home.

Start introducing the cats to each other about 7-10 days after you bring the new cat home. There are four phases to cat introductions. The phases encourage the cats to get to know each other one scent and one activity at a time, without their physically meeting each other. Each phase can last a few days or a week or longer, depending on how the cats are relating to each other through the specific activities.

In addition to the gradual introductions, place horizontal scratchers, scratching posts and vertical territory, such as cat trees, throughout the house. One way cats mark territory is by scratching. There are scent glands located on the bottom of their paws that broadcast information about them when they scratch. The vertical territory will also help keep the peace since the cats will use the different heights to demonstrate their places in their flexible hierarchy.

One of the most difficult parts of introducing cats to each other is the cat’s people resisting the urge to hurry the introductions. Be patient and do not rush through the introductions stages. Cat introductions done too quickly can have disastrous results.

California Bill Would Require
Microchips Implanted in Pets
by Daniel B Wood -

The grain-of-rice size microchips, implanted between the shoulders, hold an owner's name and address. Animal-rights activists hail the bill as a way to reunite lost pets with their families.

Jacob Miller scans a cat for a microchip at the East Valley Animal Shelter in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles on July 20. California is considering a bill to make pet microchipping mandatory for pets collected or purchased from shelters. Richard Vogel/AP

In a move backers say will greatly reduce the $300-million-per-year California taxpayers pay for housing and euthanizing stray animals, the state Assembly has passed the nation’s first mandatory microchipping-of-pets bill.

If signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate Bill 702 would take effect Jan. 1, 2012, and require dogs and cats to have an identifying microchip about the size of a grain of rice implanted beneath the skin between their shoulders when they are adopted from a shelter or when lost animals are claimed by their families.

Animal-rights groups applaud the move as a way to save lost pets that otherwise might be destroyed.

“Every year, shelters in California impound more than 1 million dogs and cats – and then euthanize more than half of these animals because they could not be reunited with their owners,” says the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Ted Lieu.

“Nationwide, this costs local taxpayer-funded shelters and humane societies $1 billion. This has to stop,” says Senator Lieu.

He emphasized that the bill, if signed, doesn’t mean that every dog and cat owner has to immediately go out and have this done, but rather only when picking up a lost pet at a shelter or adopting one from there. Microchipping can cost from $5 to $50, but this fee is often donated or waived.

An American Veterinary Medical Association study found that 73 percent of microchipped pets are likely to find their way home from a shelter. In California, only 11 percent are making their way home now, data suggest.

“The reason this needs to be a state function rather than a local one is that people pick up strays and take them home and drop them off at the local shelter, whereas the owners are looking for the pet in their own community,” says Judie Mancuso, president of Social Compassion in Legislation, which targets pet overpopulation.

Once the chip is implanted in the animal, an electronic wand can be passed over the area, giving a readout of the owner’s name, phone number, and address. This is superior to a collared name tag, the bill's advocates say, because both tag and collar can come off and be lost.

An important next step will be to create data banks where people who move can send their new contact information, says Ms. Mancuso. “If we keep the databases updated, there is no reason why the return rate can’t reach 100 percent,” she says.

Some animal activists say all microchips are not created equal – one reader may not be able to read the microchip of another reader. So if all dogs have implants from the same manufacturer, then the system works perfectly. But if an owner moves from California to a state that is using another manufacturer, the dog might have to go through the process again.

Some of these concerns are being addressed. Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for the Humane Society of the United States, says many chip companies will register pets with any brand of chip, and the American Microchip Advisory Council is working to develop a network of the registry databases to streamline the return of pets to their families.

Overall, the idea has been well received.

Craig Wheeland, a professor of public administration at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, says the issue has broad relevance. In Delaware County near Philadelphia, he notes, the county Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced that its shelter will be a “no-kill” facility and that it would no longer accept stray animals from the county’s 49 municipalities.

“Although the municipalities had one year’s notice, they are still struggling to find an affordable solution," he says. "California may be one of the states to lead in mandating the use of microchip technology to manage humanely animal populations."

Four Tips to Fight Cat Scratching
By Kristina Lotz -

Point your cat's paws in the right direction (away from your furniture) and teach him to use the scratching post.

Cats like cat posts with more height than horizontal space, although you wouldn't know that from the way they enjoy scratching your sofa.

You love your cat, but he has decided your Italian leather couch, Persian rug or designer drapes are the perfect place to scratch and stretch his paws. You finally broke down and bought one of those ugly cat trees, only to find the cat still prefers the Italian leather (you can’t blame him for having good taste). But before you take your cat to the cat shelter or get your cat declawed, try these simple tips to redirect your cat’s behavior to what we humans deem is a more appropriate place.

In an episode of dog training series "It’s Me or The Dog," Victoria Stilwell helped a woman who contemplated declawing her cat because it wouldn’t use her cat scratcher. I decided Stillwell might be a good source for information, and I caught up with her over the phone. She is in New York City filming the eighth season of "It’s Me or The Dog," premiering sometime early 2012. Humble and sweet, she says she’s a dog expert, but pet behavior follows some universal rules and she did have some great tips for cats.

Tip 1: Manage the Environment
Stilwell explained that it’s not bad behavior, it’s behavior that we want directed toward something we feel is appropriate, i.e. the cat scratcher, instead of the couch, carpet or molding. “Humans need to think about what the cat needs and then give him an appropriate outlet for that need,” she said. “In the beginning, it may be necessary to close off certain parts of the house until the cat has learned to scratch on the appropriate item. Covering items with tinfoil, though not my favorite, also works because cats won’t like the feel of it on their claws.”

Tip 2: Choices
Just like all finicky felines, your cat will have one type of material that it feels is the fillet mignon of materials. For some posh cats, this might be your leather sofa, while others may savor your soft cashmere blanket or have carpet cravings. Stilwell’s cat, Angelica, liked the feel of plain wood but not carpet. Nowadays, you can get very modern looking cat furniture that will fit in with your décor and comes with a variety of scratching materials including wood, grass, cardboard, carpet, sisal etc.

The size and shape may also come into play. Carob Hibner, owner of Primo Petcare in Auburn, Wash., told me, “A cat post with height is more appealing than one that is horizontal or less than twice the height of your cat's length.” Keep in mind that if you have more than one cat, they may have different tastes in scratchers. A good tip would be to pay attention to what they are scratching in your home. For example, if she is clawing the carpet, buy a carpeted tree. If you are unsure, you may have to buy several scratchers of varying materials, shapes and heights, to determine which one your cat gravitates toward.

I found more modern cat trees and scratchers online and at some boutique pet stores, as opposed to the big box stores. Also, some stores will take back an unused cat tree, so ask about return polices prior to purchasing. Otherwise, donate your unused tree(s) to a local cat shelter. It is tax deductible and you will improve the life of a homeless cat.

Tip 3: Placement
Just like with your cat’s litterbox, placement of the cat scratcher is very important. “If you place it in an area with a lot of traffic, human or animal, the cat won’t want to use it,” Stilwell explained. “Place it somewhere the cat can have some privacy and they will be more likely to use it.” After all, cats have to keep their dignity, and that would be totally gone if you saw them going crazy like a kitten over something as silly as a piece of cardboard attached to some wood!

Tip 4: Attract the Cat
Cats, like dogs, respond to positive reinforcement. Stilwell recommends using positive reinforcement such as treats and praise, as soon as your cat scratches the cat tree. She also mentioned placing treats, catnip or thyme around the cat tree to encourage your cat to go over to it. You can also try engaging your cat with a feather dangling over the cat scratcher. When the cat stretches his claws to get the feather and gets the scratcher instead, reward him with praise and treats.

My local pet store’s aid include sticky mats to put over whatever your cat is scratching and claw caps, rubber covers for your kitty’s claws. I have used these in the past and found they are very affective. If you are not sure about putting these on yourself, your local groomer or vet will most likely do it for you. You want your kitty to be happy and to be happy a cat needs to stretch and sharpen those claws. Hopefully these tips will allow your kitty to do just that, without shredding your décor.

Gary Bogue:
 How Do You Lose a Cat
INSIDE Your House?
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

cool evening

the snail takes a shortcut

across the sidewalk

-- haiku by Jerry Ball, Walnut Creek

Lost in space

I thought you'd get a kick out of this.

My friend Dodie has a little kitty named Pixel visiting her house in Pleasanton. Dodie also has a couple of resident indoor cats, which of course freaked out Pixel ... who decided the best way to deal with these new beasts was to find a place to hide.

And so the fun begins.

Pixel disappeared.

I will share with you, now, a few excerpts from e-mails I've received from Dodie over the last few days:

Poor little Pixel looked for places to hide. After dinner, I decided Bill and I should try to locate her.

We have spent close to two hours hunting. I had most of the house closed off.

We had opened and checked inside every kitchen cabinet and appliance. Upended all the upholstered furniture to make sure there wasn't a hole in that bottom fabric that might let her get up inside.

We even went into the living room, even though it is blocked off from cat access, and upended the sleeper sofa, having once had a cat hide up inside. I even pulled out the washer and dryer to make sure she couldn't get in underneath them from the back.

I may or may not have mentioned checking all the kitchen cabinets, repeatedly, the freezer drawer on the fridge, moving the massive television
(yes, we still have a big honking tube) so we could see under the stand from the back.

As we're sitting here trying to calm down, we hear a strange noise, so Bill has me go look.

The bottom drawer in the bathroom vanity was pulled out. As I went to push the drawer shut, I spotted a paw. Turns out with the bottom drawer pulled out some, a cat can squeeze behind the drawer and into a space under the entire vanity cabinet.

We have now left the drawer pulled completely out so she can come and go as she pleases.

Well, until we spot her out and about and then that drawer will be put back into place and taped shut, along with all the other drawers in the stack.

Thanks for the use of your e-mails, Dodie. Very helpful.

Ah, yes ... memories of the time my dear old Maine coon cat Newman, all 18 pounds of him, somehow squeezed his bulky, long-haired frame into the 3-inch space under the couch and up into the small space inside the couch arm.

Missing for two days, after I first brought him home from ARF, we searched high and low, just like Dodie, pulling out every drawer, tipping over things, etc., etc., etc.

I put food and water bowls in every room, figuring he'd come out from where he was hiding sooner or later to eat and drink.

Then, on the second day while watching TV, I heard a funny, faint "Merrow" nearby. Finally, although I couldn't believe it possible, Karl and I decided to tip over the couch. We found a TINY hole at the bottom of the couch arm with a tuft of black hair sticking out!

We pulled off all the padding on the bottom of the couch arm ... and there was Newman ... wide eyes like twin yellow moons ... jammed (somehow) up into the arm of the couch ... peering out to see who had come a-calling.

I figured if anybody out there has a similar situation in the future, the above information might give you some ideas of where to hunt should your cat go missing inside your house.

I recommend clipping out today's column and sticking it on your refrigerator door, just in case.

As Dodie sighed in relief, I suspect, after finally finding Pixel, she remarked: "Never underestimate a motivated cat."

Another “Dog-Friendliest” List Falls Flat

About four months ago, I gave a hard time for choosing Dallas as the second-most dog friendly city in America — this just after the Big D bestowed the key to the city on Michael Vick.

My point — and I did have one — was that a city’s dog friendliness is, or should be, based on more than mathematical formulas that tally how many groomers, pet boutiques, veterinarians, etc., it has per capita.

Now, along comes Dog Fancy magazine with its picks — based on similar criteria — for the five dog-friendliest cities in 2011.

Among them: Santa Cruz, Calif., which for 33 years has banned dogs from part of its downtown area.

True, the ban — finally — has been lifted, conditionally, effective this week. And true, there are other very dog-friendly parts of Santa Cruz, including some beaches, and plenty of fine services as well. But a city that has banned dogs from its main drag for three decades being chosen as among the dog-friendliest in the nation?

Were I one of the other cities vying for the honor, I’d have a bone to pick with that.

The world’s most widely read dog magazine, as Dog Fancy calls itself, named Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the winner of the 2011 DogTown USA competition, saluting it as America’s most dog-friendly city.

While we couldn’t agree more with Dog Fancy’s top choice last year — Provincetown, Mass., as we showed you during our travels, is indeed highly dog friendly — we have some trouble with this year’s selections.

The other three cities in the top five were Bend, Oregon; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Doylestown, Pa., where, earlier this month, a dog was found to have been given poisoned hot dogs and shot 32 times — allegedly by his owner, the golf course superintendent — while tied to fence of the Doylestown Country Club.

The acts of one deranged person shouldn’t blow a city’s chance at being proclaimed “dog-friendliest,” but we do think the number of animal cruelty cases that surface in a city should be a small part of any formula assessing dog friendliness.

The criteria used to select winners in the Dog Fancy contest — sponsored by Natural Balance Pet Foods and Wahl Clipper – include the amount of dog-friendly open spaces and dog parks, veterinarians, pet supply stores and other services, events celebrating dogs and their owners, and municipal laws that support and protect pets.

“Journalist Barbara Walters has saluted Coeur d’Alene as one of her favorite cities, calling it a little slice of heaven,” Dog Fancy Editor Ernie Slone said in announcing the results — though, Barbara being human, what the heck that has to do with anything I don’t know.

“What we discovered is that whether a dog likes a place to run and hike, loves to mingle downtown, or needs a new home, dogs and their owners have it made in Coeur d’Alene, a little slice of dog heaven.”

Slone traveled to Coeur d’Alene to present $5,000 to the Kootenai County Dog Park Association. Additionally, Natural Balance Pet Foods will donate 1,000 pet food meals to Kootenai Humane Society on behalf of Coeur d’Alene, and 500 pet food meals to each of the regional winners.

Given all that, I don’t want to totally disrespect these lists and the organizations that put them together, but I will suggest that they are not as much about truth or reality as they are about politics, public relations and sales.

No comments: